Serbia has made achievements in gender equality and the empowerment of women. At the same time, gaps in policies and practices highlighted the need for a strategic focus and additional investment to advance the work on gender mainstreaming and gender-responsive governance.

The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funds capacity-building in countries throughout the accession process, resulting in progressive, positive developments in the region. These reforms should provide their citizens, both women and men, with better opportunities and allow for the development of standards equal to those enjoyed by citizens of the EU. It is crucial, therefore, to take gender into consideration in every step of IPA programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, so that the political and economic reforms benefit both women and men.

In 2015, UN Women organised training on ‘Gender equality in the process of IPA programming and monitoring in Serbia’, which was the first to focus specifically on principles and tools to make IPA programming more gender-responsive. Feedback from participants and experts encouraged replication of this training, both in Serbia and in other countries in the EU accession process. The two-day training sought to support representatives of all national institutions involved in the processes of IPA programming to enhance the effectiveness of IPA funding support in advancing gender equality. The training was organised in partnership with the European Integration Office and the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the government of Serbia.

The 2nd Annual meeting on gender mainstreaming in the processes of programming resources and implementation of actions in the instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) in Serbia continued the work begun in 2015, aiming to support the development of gender-sensitive sectoral fiches, including specific commitments on gender equality and women’s rights, as the basis for successful integration of gender perspectives into IPA programming processes and project proposals.

The results of joint work and discussions from the 3rd Annual gender mainstreaming capacity-building meeting provided proposals for modifications and improvements of proposed interventions in current action documents and draft log frame matrices. They also identified relevant gender aspects in various sectors and recommendations on specific activities contributing to more gender-responsive projects. In 2017, the focus was on the process and entry points through which gender mainstreaming could be integrated into internal procedures and thereby institutionalised. The key activities contributing to the systematic integration of a gender perspective into each planning process stage were also identified. In addition to opportunities for the integration of a gender perspective into various phases of the programming process, specific challenges grounded in current IPA planning practices were also identified and discussed. Relevant recommendations on gender mainstreaming - and related improvements to the planning process - are included here.

Implementing entity: Coordination Body for Gender Equality


Impact of gender mainstreaming in the pre-accession process


All project activities are linked to the national priorities, specifically those guiding the EU accession process, and to the National Strategy for Gender Equality 2016-2020 and the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016-2018.

Transferability to other contexts

Gender mainstreaming is one of the main goals of the project.

Learning and capacity-building potential

Every segment of the project includes a learning component.

Sustainability of the initiative

The project is planned to be continued. In March 2018 Serbia began its implementation of the three-year project ‘Support to Priority Actions for Gender Equality in Serbia’. Likewise, the Gender Equality Facility (GEF) will support the government to effectively implement the EU gender equality acquis and the National Strategy for Gender Equality 2016-2020 by contributing to the specific measures of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016-2018 and supporting women's civil society organisations.

The project will address the European Commission’s Progress Report (Serbia) recommendation for a sustainable institutional framework for gender equality that provides support to the administrative structures and management systems needed to implement and oversee the National Strategy for Gender Equality. The project aims to  support the Ministry of European Integration and the institutions involved in programming EU funds to include a gender perspective in the planning and programming of assistance.

The overall objective of the project is to support the government of Serbia to comply with national and international gender equality commitments and the EU gender equality acquis.

More specifically, the project aims to ensure that the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, the Ministry of European Integration and other key institutions mandated for gender equality, progress the implementation of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality and integration of the EU gender equality acquis.

National plans and strategies

The project is in line with the National Strategy for Gender Equality 2016-2020 as it contributes to the specific measures of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016-2018.

Achievements and tangible outcomes

Gender mainstreaming capacity-building meeting objectives:

  1. Increase participants’ gender awareness and knowledge of gender mainstreaming;
  2. Increase participants’ ability to apply gender mainstreaming tools when preparing the implementation of programmes and projects;
  3. To take a step forward in the development of procedures and instruments for sustainable gender mainstreaming in IPA programming.

Capacity building included training, mentoring support, and direct interventions in log frames and action documents, defined in consultation with IPA programming officers and the relevant institutions.


Gordana Gavrilovic

Gender Equality Advisor to DPM, Member of IPA Steering Committee | Coordination Body for Gender Equality  

+381 11 3617 604